Stamps v. Limbaugh et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. [ECF No. 2] IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee of $1 within thirty (30) days of the date of this Ord er. Plaintiff is instructed to make his remittance payable to"Clerk, United States District Court," and to include upon it: (1) his name; (2) his prison registration number; (3) the case number; and (4) that the remittance is for an origina l proceeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all proceedings in this case are STAYED pending final disposition of the criminal charges pending against plaintiff in State v. Stamps, No. 17CGCR00356-01 (32nd Judicial Circuit, Cape Girardeau). IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall have thirty (30) days to notify the Court in writing concerning the final disposition of the criminal charges pending against him inState v. Stamps, No. 17CG-CR00356-01 (32nd Judicial Circuit, Cape Girardeau).IT IS FURTH ER ORDERED that this case is ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED pending final disposition of the criminal charges against plaintiff, and may be reopened by this Court after a ruling on plaintiffs motion to reopen the case after such final disposition. IT IS FUR THER ORDERED that plaintiffs motion for preliminary injunction to halt the state court criminal proceedings is DENIED. [ECF No. 4] IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiffs motion for appointment of counsel and motion to expedite initial review are DENIED as moot. [ECF Nos. 3 and 8]. Signed by District Judge John A. Ross on 4/11/2018. (JMC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MICHAEL EARL STAMPS,
CHRISTOPHER K. LIMBAUGH, et al.,
No. 1:18-CV-58 JAR
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Michael Earl Stamps, an
inmate at Cape Girardeau County Jail, for leave to commence this action without payment of the
required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have
sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(l). Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court will stay
and administratively close this action pursuant to the Supreme Court case of Wallace v. Kato,
549 U.S. 384 (2007), based on the pendency of an underlying criminal case against plaintiff
arising out of the same facts. In addition, plaintiff has filed a motion for preliminary injunction
which will be denied for the reasons stated below.
28 u.s.c. § 1915(b)(l)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(l), a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma pauperis is
required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has insufficient funds in his or
her prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court must assess and, when funds exist, collect an
initial partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of (1) the average monthly deposits in the
prisoner's account, or (2) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the prior sixmonth period. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner is required to make
monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's
account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will forward these
monthly payments to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds
$10, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id
Plaintiff has submitted a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and an affidavit in support,
but has not filed a certified copy of his prison account statement for the six-month period
immediately preceding the submission of his complaint. Plaintiff states that he was unable to
obtain a copy of his account statement because the jail refused to provide one. After reviewing
plaintiffs motion and affidavit, the Court will require plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee
of $1, an amount that is reasonable based upon the information the Court has about plaintiffs
finances. See Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 484 (8th Cir. 1997) (when a prisoner is unable
to provide the Court with a certified copy of his prison account statement, the Court should
assess an amount "that is reasonable, based on whatever information the court has about the
Plaintiff brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. Named as defendants are Christopher K. Limbaugh (Prosecuting
Attorney, Cape Girardeau County); James Goins (Police Officer, Cape Girardeau Police
Department ("CGPD"); Jerry Franks (Detective, CGPD); Officer Templeton (Police Officer,
CGPD); and the County of Cape Girardeau.
Plaintiffs twenty-one page complaint states plaintiffs version of the events leading up to
his confinement in Cape Girardeau County Jail for first degree robbery and armed criminal
action, and why he believes the Cape Girardeau police and prosecutor are violating his civil
According to plaintiffs complaint, on March 18, 2016 a man named Travis Paul
Dickerson was robbed at knifepoint in his car after cashing a tax refund check at Wal-Mart in
Cape Girardeau County.
Through surveillance footage and motor vehicle records, Cape
Girardeau police identified twelve suspects.
Through a photo line-up, the victim identified
plaintiff Michael Stamps and another individual as the men who had robbed him, stating that he
was 75 to 80 percent sure these were the perpetrators.
In his complaint, plaintiff states that he was not involved in the crime and that he was
working at Midtown Landscaping on the day Mr. Dickerson was robbed. He states his employer
would verify through his timesheets that he was at work during the robbery. He also states that
through fingerprint analysis, he was completely eliminated as a source of a set of fingerprints in
Mr. Dickerson's car. Plaintiff states he has been shown an earlier police report filed by Mr.
Dickerson that contradicts his later police report, and the prosecutor has not produced this
Plaintiff alleges, without support, collusion between his public defender and the
prosecutor, which caused his public defender to hide exculpatory evidence at his preliminary
hearing, including his work schedule and time sheet. Plaintiff also states that his public defender
did not notify him of a court date while he was on bond, and thus his bond was revoked.
Plaintiff states defendant the County of Cape Girardeau fails to train police officers in proper
investigation techniques and allows officers to pursue cases without probable cause. Finally,
plaintiff asserts a state law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against the
defendants. For relief, plaintiff seeks an injunction and damages in excess of $2.5 million.
In Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 397 (2007), the United States Supreme Court held that
"the statute of limitations upon a § 1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest in violation of
the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at
the time the claimant is detained pursuant to legal process." The Court observed that "[f]alse
arrest and false imprisonment overlap; the former is a species of the latter." Id. at 388. The
Court instructed that where, as here, "a plaintiff files a false arrest claim before he has been
convicted (or files any other claim related to rulings that will likely be made in a pending or
anticipated criminal trial), it is within the power of the district court, and in accord with common
practice to stay the civil action until the criminal case or the likelihood of a criminal case is
ended." Id. at 393-94. Otherwise, the Court and the parties are left to "speculate about whether
a prosecution will be brought, whether it will result in a conviction, and whether the impending
civil action will impugn that verdict, all this at a time when it can hardly be known what
evidence the prosecution has in its possession." Id. at 393 (internal citation omitted).
On June 5, 2017, plaintiff was arraigned in Cape Girardeau County Court, and charged
with one count of first degree robbery and one count of armed criminal action. See State v.
Stamps, No. l 7CG-CR00356-0l (32nd Judicial Circuit, Cape Girardeau). Plaintiffs case is still
pending in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court, and the next hearing date is scheduled for
April 16, 2018.
Although plaintiff does not specifically assert a claim for false arrest, he asserts § 1983
claims for illegal seizure, failure to conduct an adequate investigation, "unlawful pretrial
detention," substantive due process violations of his right to be free of illegal restraint, and
conspiracy. These claims relate to rulings that "will likely be made in a pending or anticipated
criminal trial." Id.
The principles of Wallace v. Kato dictate that further consideration of
plaintiffs § 1983 claims should be stayed until the underlying criminal matter against plaintiff
has been resolved through state criminal proceedings. See, e.g., Vonneedo v. Dennis, No. 1:17CV-183 NAB, 2017 WL 5904005, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 30, 2017) (staying§ 1983 case alleging
unconstitutional search and seizure under principles articulated in Wallace v. Kato); Anderson v.
Robinson, No. 4:12-CV-967 CAS, 2013 WL 4502598, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 22, 2013) (same).
Additionally, a stay or abstention until resolution of the criminal matter would be
appropriate because a prisoner may not recover damages in a § 1983 suit where the judgment
would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction, continued imprisonment, or sentence
unless the conviction or sentence is reversed, expunged or called into question by issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994); Schafer v. Moore,
46 F.3d 43, 45 (8th Cir. 1995); see also Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 648 (1997) (applying
rule in § 1983 suit seeking declaratory relief).
Finally, plaintiff has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to "HALT the progress of
the pending state criminal proceeding." In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 46 (1971), the
Supreme Court held that principles of equity, comity, and federalism dictate that federal courts
should generally refrain from enjoining ongoing state criminal proceedings, absent extraordinary
circumstances where the danger of irreparable injury to the federal plaintiff is both great and
immediate. Here, the Court concludes that abstention is warranted under Younger. Plaintiff is
part of an ongoing state judicial proceeding arising out of the same facts as this § 1983 case;
plaintiffs allegations implicate important state interests; and an adequate opportunity exists in
the state proceeding to raise constitutional challenges. Finding no "extraordinary circumstances"
that would justify interfering with plaintiffs pending state judicial proceedings, the Court will
deny plaintiffs motion for preliminary injunction. See Younger, 401 U.S. at 43-44.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion to proceed in forma pauperis is
GRANTED. [ECF No. 2]
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee of $1 within
thirty (30) days of the date of this Order. Plaintiff is instructed to make his remittance payable to
"Clerk, United States District Court," and to include upon it: (1) his name; (2) his prison
registration number; (3) the case number; and (4) that the remittance is for an original
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all proceedings in this case are STAYED pending
final disposition of the criminal charges pending against plaintiff in State v. Stamps, No. 17CGCR00356-01 (32nd Judicial Circuit, Cape Girardeau).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall have thirty (30) days to notify the
Court in writing concerning the final disposition of the criminal charges pending against him in
State v. Stamps, No. 17CG-CR00356-01 (32nd Judicial Circuit, Cape Girardeau).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED
pending final disposition of the criminal charges against plaintiff, and may be reopened by this
Court after a ruling on plaintiffs motion to reopen the case after such final disposition.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiffs motion for preliminary injunction to halt
the state court criminal proceedings is DENIED. [ECF No. 4]
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiffs motion for appointment of counsel and
motion to expedite initial review are DENIED as moot. [ECF Nos. 3 and 8]
Dated this 11th day of April, 2018.
D STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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